KarenOHanlon

After completing an Honours Bachelor degree in Biological Sciences, Karen received her PhD in Fungal Genetics from Maynooth University in Ireland in 2011. During her PhD, she investigated how certain gene products influence biology and virulence in the human pathogen fungi Aspergillus fumigatus. She then relocated to Denmark where she held back-to-back postdoc positions, first looking into plant-fungal relationships, more specifically symbiotic relationships which could be exploited for biological control of crop diseases, and later studying how the Wee1 protein is involved in protecting human cells from DNA damage. She has since then returned ‘to her scientific roots’ where she now works in a drug discovery company trying to develop new therapies for invasive fungal diseases. Alongside working full-time and being mother to a busy toddler, Karen is a knitting fanatic, enjoys writing articles for Bitesize Bio and has a genuine interest in scientific communication.

Articles by KarenOHanlon:

Introducing You to the Wonderful World of Microbes!

Welcome to the microbe series where we have a very exciting line-up planned over the coming months. Here we will talk about everything microbial, including the uses of microbes in industry and medicine, emerging pathogens, diagnostics, and much, much more! Let’s kick off this series with an introduction into these wonderful, yet sometimes nasty, organisms…

01 Dec 2016 Cells and Model Organisms

Mysterious miRNA: Identifying miRNAs and Their Targets

In my first article on this topic we delved into what miRNAs are, how they are generated, and their function. Now, we are going to discuss how to identify miRNAs and their targets. Why do you want to look at something so small anyhow? miRNAs play a crucial role in most physiological processes. It’s not…

09 Jul 2016 Lab Statistics & Math

Mysterious Plant miRNAs: What About Them?

Welcome to the last article in this series! Last, but by no means least, we will look at the importance of plant miRNAs and how they differ from their animal counterparts. When/How Were Plant miRNAs Discovered? Plant miRNAs were first described in 2002, a decade after the seminal miRNA study in the nematode C. elegans…

09 Jul 2016 Genomics & Epigenetics

Understanding Plasmid Incompatibility

Welcome to the last article in the series on E. coli origins of replication where we will touch upon plasmid incompatibility! This is a broad and complicated topic so we will mainly focus on points that might be relevant for you in the lab. What is Plasmid Incompatibility? Plasmid incompatibility is usually defined as the…

16 Mar 2015 DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

Mysterious miRNAs: An Introduction to MicroRNAs

mRNA, miRNA, siRNA, tRNA, rRNA! Just what do all these RNAs do? Most biology graduates will have heard a good deal about mRNAs, tRNAs and rRNAs since these are vital players in protein synthesis. For siRNAs there has been a lot of focus within drug discovery and biomedical research over the last decade, but there…

04 Mar 2015 Of Interest

How to Manipulate Plasmid Copy Number

So far in this series, we have looked at origins of replication, we’ve discussed how plasmid replication is regulated in the popular pBR22 plasmid, and we’ve seen how a disturbance of this regulatory mechanism has given rise to the high-copy pUC18 plasmid. Are you ready for more plasmid talk?? If so, keep reading, as we…

14 Jan 2015 Of Interest

qPCR: RNA quality and why it matters

Gene expression analysis plays a pivotal role in a wide range of studies, including biomedical analysis and diagnostics. Of all the methods available for gene expression analysis, quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) is the most rapid, sensitive, and accurate to measure mRNA, and its use in clinical diagnostics is rising steadily. RNA quality entails both purity and…

18 Dec 2014 PCR, qPCR and qRT-PCR

pUC18 – Probably the Best High-Copy plasmid in the World!

Today I would like to introduce you to pUC18, a plasmid most noted for its high copy number. In the first article in this series, we talked about how origins of replication (ori) control plasmid replication and copy number. To learn about this, we focused on the pBR22 ori and the role of Rop protein in…

26 Nov 2014 Of Interest

Top Ten websites to help you with your PCR experiments

Whether you are embarking on a PhD in molecular biology, trying to amplify a new gene, analyzing gene expression by qPCR, or trying to solve a PCR problem, you will probably resort to a Google search at some point or another. How do you sort out the > 20 million hits you get when you…

20 Nov 2014 PCR, qPCR and qRT-PCR

Polymerase chain reaction-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (PCR-ELISA)

As researchers, we are constantly on the lookout for new and improved ways to analyze, detect and quantify our favorite protein or gene. Luckily, we don’t always need to reinvent the wheel! PCR-ELISA is a good example of where two commonly used techniques have been merged together to create a very powerful analytical tool. What…

26 Oct 2014 PCR, qPCR and qRT-PCR